OneSpirit’s Confidentiality Policy
Confidentiality helps to create and protect a sacred space, a sense of being held safely but it can also be used to create secrecy and defend us from openness. OneSpirit’s intention is to heal or bring to wholeness all aspects of humanity and so it recognises the need for a confidentiality policy that encourages individual openness while establishing best practise in how and when personal information is held and shared.
Values and Code of Ethics
OneSpirit believes that maintaining confidentiality is an expression of our values and is currently expressed in these terms:
Maintaining Confidentiality: “We honour the sacred trust between a spiritual counsellor and a client, between a minister and the community served and promise to hold any personal information in the strictest confidence within the law. The same applies to our study setting, so that a safe place is created for heartfelt sharing”. We will only discuss privileged information within our legitimate forums of support (such as supervision), focusing on the issues and only identifying the individuals concerned when absolutely necessary. On the very rare occasions we see a need to break confidentiality, we will first aim to encourage the individual themselves to share information that could be in their best interests to disclose. This is normally about a risk to the client/trainee, to a second party (ourselves) or a third party (like a child or a spouse)
Confidentiality within the Training Context
In the interests of students’ growth and development, core and group tutors and wider faculty, together with our finance and admin staff where appropriate, will share information in the legitimate forums of support, for example debriefing meetings, unless specifically requested by an individual student not to do so. That request for confidentiality will be respected if it is deemed in the student’s best interest to do so, does not contravene the training agreement, the statement at the end of this section or bring the organisation into disrepute. Where appropriate we encourage individuals to bring issues into the open to get wider support.
If confidentiality cannot be maintained the individual will be informed.
All student counsellors will be taught the confidentiality statement before taking on a student client.
All student counsellors will use this statement on confidentiality and discuss it with the student client before counselling takes place.
When student counsellors are writing up their case studies they will not mention the client’s name and only the issues, not the individual, will be discussed at supervision.
If tutors or supervisors are concerned about the “student client” as a result of reading or hearing case notes they will ask the student counsellor to ask the student client for permission to pass on their name.
If tutors or supervisors feel this code has been, or has to be, broken for any reason they will inform both student counsellors and student clients.
Confidentiality within OneSpirit’s Minister Community
OneSpirit ministers and spiritual counsellors honour the sacred trust that is placed with them when personal information is shared by their fellow ministers and/or given by members of the wider community they serve. This trust requires them not to discuss such privileged conversations outside the OneSpirit’s legitimate forums of support, for example in supervision, and then by focusing on the issues and only identifying the individuals concerned when absolutely necessary.
If it is in the community’s best interests that confidentiality is not maintained ministers will encourage the individual to share information with an appropriate person.
If confidentiality cannot be maintained because the code of ethics has been broken or because of circumstances mentioned in the statement at the end of this section the individual will be informed.
Confidentiality between Spiritual Counsellor and Client
OneSpirit spiritual counsellors will make explicit statements about the limits of confidentiality and will include this in their initial contract prior to entering the counselling relationship. These statements will be discussed within supervision.
Confidentiality and the Law
Many people believe it is illegal to withhold information from the police or the authorities. In reality, in most cases it is not illegal to withhold until a subpoena (court order) is issued.
There are some notable exceptions that have legal requirements with regard to disclosure and they are issues related to terrorism, child abuse and data protection all of which you are legally required to report to the police.
OneSpirit recognise that if spiritual counsellors are to hold the vision of wholeness for an individual and channel Love, and if individuals are to share from their hearts and open up to healing, then a non-judgemental attitude to behaviour is a prerequisite. However, care must be taken for keeping of notes within the data protection act.
We understand that sometimes information is regarded as sensitive and private and we want to respect that. Please be aware that sometimes we may need to share information internally, with colleagues, in order to ensure we provide you and others the necessary support. We will explain why and how such information is to be shared in such cases, and who with, so that you have the opportunity to withhold permission.
We may also need to breach confidentiality in extreme circumstances such as:
A serious risk to your own health and welfare.
If your behaviour presents a serious risk to the legal rights of others.
When staff have been placed in a position that compromises their professional integrity.
When disclosure is required by law.
If any of the above circumstances were to arise, before any decision was made to breach confidentiality, the situation would be discussed with you.